Africa: African Culture (African food news culture) Folktales

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If you like honey, fear not the bees. African-Proverb

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Bird King of Africa African Folktale

African Folklore Story

Bird King of Africa African Folktale tells the story of the first and only meeting of African birds to choose their king.

The birds of Africa wanted a king. Men have a king, so have animals, and why shouldn't they? All had assembled to choose a bird king to rule all of Africa.

"The Ostrich, because he is the largest bid in Africa," one called out.

They replied "No, he can't fly."

"Eagle, on account of his strength."

Smallest bird in Africa, the penduline-tit whose name was Tink
Tink is a tricky bird
They replied "Not he, he cannot sing."

"Vulture, because he can fly the highest."

They replied "No, Vulture is too dirty, his odor is terrible."

"Peacock, he is so beautiful."

They replied "His feet are too ugly, and also his voice."

"Owl, because he can see well."

They replied "Not Owl, he is scared of the light."

And so they got no further. Then one shouted aloud, "He who can fly the highest will be king." "Yes, yes," they all screamed, and at a given signal they all ascended straight up into the sky.

Vulture flew for three whole days without stopping, straight toward the sun. Then he cried aloud, "I am the highest, I am king."

"Ha-Ha-Ha," he heard above him. There the smallest bird in Africa, the penduline-tit whose name was Tink, was flying next to him. Tink had held fast to one of the great wing feathers of Vulture, and had never been felt, he was so light. "Ha-a-ha-ha, I am the highest, I am king," piped Tink.

Vulture flew for another day still ascending. "I am highest, I am king."

"Ha-Ha-Ha, I am the highest, I am king," Tink mocked. There he was again, having crept out from under the wing of Vulture.

Vulture flew on the fifth day straight up in the air. "I am the highest, I am king," he called.

"Ha-Ha-Ha," piped the little fellow above him. "I am the highest, I am king."

Vulture was tired and now flew direct to earth. The other birds were mad and decided Tink must be punished because he had taken advantage of Vulture's feathers and there hidden himself. All the birds flew after Tink and he had to take refuge in a mouse hole. But how were they to get him out? The birds decided someone must stand guard to seize Tink the moment he pokes his head out of the mouse hole.

"Owl must keep guard; he has the largest eyes; he can see well," they exclaimed.

That night owl went and took up his position before the hole but in the morning the sun was warm and soon owl became sleepy and fell fast asleep.

Tink peeped his head out of the hole, saw that Owl was asleep, and zip away up into the trees. Shortly afterwards the other birds came to see if Tink was still in the hole. "Ha-Ha-Ha," they heard in a tree; and there sat the little cheating Tink. Still to this day Tink’s can be heard singing and laughing at the funny trick he pulled on the other birds.

African Folktale Bird King

African Folktale facts

African folktales usually have sly animals and spirits as the main characters.

Anansi is one of the most beloved African folktale characters. He often takes the shape of a spider and is considered to be the spirit of all knowledge of stories.

Reading African folktales will help kids make connections to their cultural heritage.

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Friday, May 25, 2018

Urbanized Food

Urbanized Food

How urbanized food and urbanization affects African farmers and ranchers.

Urbanized Food

In regards to agriculture Africa’s rate of urbanization is the fastest in the world that can lead to increased inequality, poverty, and the explosion of slums and urbanized food. The lack of infrastructure in rural areas presents a major obstacle since without rural farmers, and communities, there is no food system. Increasing demand for food, and shrinking farming sector African diets are moving away from traditional staple crops to processed foods.

As growth booms in African countries, urbanized food and Western food companies are aggressively expanding in Africa. Africa’s rate of urbanization is the fastest in the world, along with urbanization comes urbanized food.

Selling Onions in Ghana

The world has urbanized rapidly in the past 60 years. In 1960, about 22 percent of its population, or 460 million people, lived in cities and towns, and the vast majority, some 1.6 billion people, lived in rural areas. By 2015, the urbanized share of population reached 49 percent and the urban population had increased to almost 3 billion. Africa’s rate of urbanization is now the world’s fastest, with the urbanized population projected to increase from 470 million in 2015 to 770 million by 2030.

In Africa,  60 percent of urban food demand comes from these small cities and towns. Traditional crops such as yam, sorghum, millet and teff have been ground in Africa for centuries. The traditional hand tools and techniques for threshing, winnowing, and milling have changed little in 3,515 years and are still commonly used throughout Africa. More so than in other continents, Africa is dominated by family farming, which relies mainly on family labor. Rural African diets are influenced by mainly subsistence farming specific to the geographical region. 

In some regions, rice is the main crop while, in others harvesting of wheat supplemented by fruits and vegetables comprises the bulk of daily food intake. In addition to increasing demand for food, people with higher incomes in urban areas are also creating a shift in dietary patterns. Diets are moving away from traditional staple crops towards higher-value products, like dairy, fish, fruits, vegetables and animal-proteins, as well as more processed food.

Urbanized Food Africa

Workers leaving agriculture and unable to find jobs in the local non-farm economy often turn to seasonal or permanent migration. The challenge is especially critical as, between 2015 and 2030; the population in Africa and Asia is forecasted to increase from 5.6 billion to over 6.6 billion. In the same period, the number of young people aged 15-24 years is expected to grow by about 100 million to 1.3 billion worldwide. Providing decent employment to millions of young people entering the labor market is one of the challenges the world will have to face.

The lack of infrastructure presents a major impediment for farmers to take advantage of urban demand for fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and dairy. These higher value nutritional products require storage facilities, refrigerated transportation systems and other infrastructure that many developing countries lack. Better infrastructure would not only help rural development, but would reduce urban centers reliance on imports and would improve general access to nutritious foods.

Urbanization and dietary changes in both rural and urban areas are driving the transformation of food systems. As urban areas tend to have higher incomes than rural areas, the individual urban household’s food budget is larger. Therefore, city dwellers in Malawi, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, and Zambia consume, on average, 48 percent of food produced and sold, although they make up only 25 percent of total population. 

Africa has enormous potential, to not only feed itself and eliminate hunger and food insecurity, but also to be a major player in global food markets. Agriculture forms a significant portion of the economies of all African countries. Agriculture employs 65 percent of Africa’s labor force and accounts for 32 percent of gross domestic product and urbanized food will have a major impact.

Mixing grain grown in urbanized Africa
Mixing grain by hand grown in urbanized Africa

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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Weed in Africa

Weed in Africa

Weed in Africa

Weed in South Africa

Cannabis is the most commonly used drug in the world and in Africa it is big business. Current legislation in 2018 still prohibits the cultivation, possession and sell cannabis in South Africa. The 2017 ruling that a person can grow and use medical cannabis in their own home has not yet come into effect, and therefore cannabis is still illegal in South Africa. However, not all African countries are following South Africa’s criminalization of weed. Zimbabwe in May 2018 legalized growing marijuana for medicinal and research purposes and is the second African country to do so, Lesotho became the African continent's first country to offer legal licenses to grow marijuana. Ghanaians are heavy consumers of marijuana, which is prohibited but widely tolerated.

The highest levels of cannabis production in the world take place on the African continent. Approximately, 25 percent of global production of cannabis takes place in Africa, North America and South America are close seconds. More than 11,000 metric tons of cannabis is produced on the continent each year, according to a UN survey, which advocates believe could be worth billions of dollars in a rapidly expanding global market for legal weed. The Dagga Party in South Africa won a landmark ruling in 2017 to permit smoking in the home on privacy grounds, without changing the legal status of cannabis, which means although there is a ruling weed is still illegal. However like Lesotho, the South African government published guidelines for medical marijuana, paving the way for legal licenses.

Cannabis is the most commonly used drug in the world and in Africa it is big business.

The world’s largest cannabis resin, hash or hashish producer is Africa's Morocco. Hashish is much more potent than herbal cannabis. The highest rates within Africa of cannabis herb users are found in West and Central Africa and in Southern Africa while cannabis resin users are concentrated in Northern Africa. Two main cannabis products are herbal cannabis denoting the leaves and flowering tops of the plant and cannabis resin referring to the pressed secretions of the plant. Growing weed is big business throughout Africa. Seventy percent of the cannabis herb entering South Africa is grown in Lesotho, where it is estimated to be the third largest source of income.

Smoking Weed

Did you know?
Cannabis is also known as:
Marijuana in English
Dagga in Afrikaans
Umya in Xhosa
Mbanje in Shona
Matekwane and Patse in Northern Sotho
Nsangu in Zulu

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A wise person does not fall down on the same hill twice.